Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story
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#77 Steve Caratzas: Governed by Numbers

Steve Caratzas had a sad childhood. His parents were angry and the tone of the house was critical. As one of five kids, he felt lost, isolated. Steve wrote poems and played guitar to cope. Later, he quit a job and moved to LA to attend the Musicians Institute. Around this time, Steve got tattoos that made him seem unapproachable, a kind of challenge to everybody. College got derailed. His early adult life was mostly playing in bands, drinking, and doing drugs. On his 35th birthday, Steve decided to get clean and sober, but he kept playing guitar. He went back to college and finished his bachelors (he is haunted by not completing things) and then earned two masters as well. This has given him a sense of completion and allowed him to move on with himself and his life. Steve’s been clean for 14 years, but he still misses pot, his drug of choice. He also worries that he has lost touch with amplified feelings, but you can see that he hasn’t if you read his brief, dark poems. Steve invented the eight-word poem, a form based on his birthday (August 8). He loves cutting words from a poem to make the poem better in the same way that he has cut certain behaviors out of his life. What else? Well, Steve hates driving, but loves cats. Also, he is incredibly grateful for his two children from his first marriage. He says that his second wife is a beautiful person, but not the right person for him. Now he’s living with a woman he met in college in 1978. She was the right person, though they wouldn’t realize that until 25 years later when they found their own artwork hanging next to the other’s in a group show at a New York gallery. They hadn’t seen each other for years, but Steve could see that she was the right person for him. They love the same things, including each other, including themselves.

Steve Caratzas
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